Recruitment and Selection Strategies for Building a Strong Team


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The key to the success of any company is building the right team at the right time, but the process of finding, recruiting and selecting the group who will be 'on the bus' through the journey can be one of the least planned out and executed activities in a start-up, often leaving companies having to rein in headcount, or reduce burn and critical gaps in their team at a later stage. In this session you will learn the principles of recruitment and selection as well as practical approaches for early stage companies including critical tips and pitfalls to avoid along with a set of lessons learned from years of supporting start-up companies.

Part of the MaRS Best Practices Series - with speaker Margo Crawford, President & CEO, Business Sherpa

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Recruitment and Selection Strategies for Building a Strong Team

  1. 1. Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  2. 2. Entrepreneur’s Toolkit: HR Workbook 1: Building an A-Team HR Workbook 2: Compensation HR Workbook 3: HR at Work Creating an HR plan: Butteriss on human resources Building HR processes, policies and procedures Compensating employees Hiring your friends: Is it such a good idea? Video: Human Capital: Building high performance teams Video: Human Resources Management Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  3. 3. business sherpa group trusted. capable. results-driven Start-Up Recruiting Building Your A-team Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  4. 4. Introduction GOAL Share practical realities of building an A-team in a start-up environment Tips, tools and lessons learned Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  5. 5. Introduction September 10th 12:00 – 1:00 PM (Room CR2) focus on recruitment and selection when building start up teams September 17th 12:00 – 1:00 PM (Room CR2) compensation and rewards strategies/tools September 24th 12:00 – 1:00 PM (Room CR2) unique look at sales recruitment and sales compensation plans Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  6. 6. Background Business Sherpa   Virtual VP of HR supporting start-ups, early-stage companies and social venture enterprises   25+ years of HR experience (10+ years in start-ups)   HR Professional of the Year Ottawa 2006   Co-founder of Meriton Networks (optical networking start-up) from formation to sale 8 years later   Supporting start-ups in Toronto and Ottawa over past 2.5 years as Business Sherpa Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  7. 7. Unique Issues of a Start-up Founders   May be in leadership roles whether they should be or not!   Founders are the foundation with biases & preferences – some good some bad Money   You have it ….then you are running out of it   Over-filling the ranks will consume your cash quickly Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  8. 8. Unique Issues of a Start-up Geographic Challenges   Where you form may not be where your ‘talent’ lives   Customers will impact who and where you recruit for some roles Market Timing   Don’t get multiple shots at hitting the market window at the right time – anticipating vs. reacting even more critical   Miss-hiring and losing time can be a devastating blow vs. an annoying inconvenience Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  9. 9. Building a Team – Recruitment 101 Your best shot at getting it right Plan well Search creatively Choose wisely Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  10. 10. Financial Technical Customer Milestones Milestones Milestones Milestones Recruitment Early Seed Proof of Formation CEO PLM CFO CTO (P/T?) Customer Funding Concept BD Lead HR (P/T?) BD/ Series A Sales V.1 Customer Product R&D Sr. R&D Trials Year 1 Ready Marcomms Company Launch V.1 GA Strategic SE’s Product R&D Revenue QA Int./Jr. Strategic Admin. Support Sales Customer (Hunter) Sales Series B Year 2 V.2 (F/T) VP CFO Sales Repeat Product Aim Sales + Margin New Revenue Sales Accounts VP (Farmer) V.2 GA Year 3 Marketing Product Yearly Accountant COO? Repeat Revenue Sales Growth HR (F/T?) Sales Support Hire V.1 New Sustaining Accounts Series C Year 4 Planning around key milestones = precision hiring Repeat Quarterly Support Customer Sales Revenue V.2 Growth Sustaining New Accounts Year 5 Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa IPO/M&A
  11. 11. Ready Aim Hire Key Observations About Recruitment Milestones HR Admin. CEO CFO Accountant COO? (P/T?) Support HR CFO (F/T) Recruitment (P/T?) (F/T?) R&D Sr. R&D VP Milestones CTO QA Int./Jr. Marketing Lead R&D Customer BD/ Marcomms VP Sales Sales Sales Support PLM SE’s Sales (Farmer) Support Sales (Hunter) Identify Pillar Hires   Key to success, but timing may differ depending on budget, sector, market, technology, customers, etc. Creatively Fill Gaps   Functions must get done, even if you can’t hire   Consider all options advisors; part-time/virtual support; contract out; technology licensing VP-level Not Necessarily First Hire   Consider what must get done – do you need a ‘doer’ or a ‘builder’? Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  12. 12. Ready Aim Hire Key Observations – Recruitment Milestones HR Admin. CEO CFO Accountant COO? (P/T?) Support HR CFO (F/T) Recruitment (P/T?) (F/T?) R&D Sr. R&D VP Milestones CTO QA Int./Jr. Marketing Lead R&D Customer BD/ Marcomms VP Sales Sales Sales Support PLM SE’s Sales (Farmer) Support Sales (Hunter) Building Up Headcount – Easy Solution   Very tempting to over-hire early in order to accelerate timelines   Can seriously affect the burn rate; or consume future key headcount Be Prepared to Swap Out   Reality of limited time/funds/people   Think strategically Consider Timing   Recruitment can take from 1 – 3 months; plan accordingly Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  13. 13. Ready Aim Hire Establish Key Recruitment Funnels   Initially based on your pillar hires   Based on key hires over time Continue to Fill The Hopper   When sourcing candidates, keep all funnels in mind – fill the hopper as good candidates uncovered Development Sales Product Marketing Mgmt. Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  14. 14. Ready Aim Hire Finding Talent – time & $$$ High Cost Process Executive Search Head Hunters Spending more $$$ does not necessarily reduce time nor improve results. Internal HR Employee Referral Program Job Board Social Networking Employee Trusted Individual Low Cost Recommendations Word of Mouth Endorsement Process Low Credibility High Credibility Sourcing Sourcing Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  15. 15. Ready Aim Hire Resources To Help Internal HR Team   Full time may not be affordable   Virtual HR being widely adopted for start-ups – can provide tremendous value in supporting effective recruitment at a fraction of the cost of head hunters Networking   Tremendous networks to support companies: team; MaRS; Board; advisors; investors; former colleagues; schools Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  16. 16. Ready Aim Hire Recruiters   DO NOT handoff your recruitment – requires time and management   Expensive 20% - 25% of starting salary – use selectively   Keep focused on roles that are most challenging   Manage tightly and demand results – or change   Use limited recruiters at once – can be very overwhelming otherwise   Select firms that have specialized in your sector   Terms: contingency only and no exclusivity Executive Search   Use only as needed and for most senior level roles   Typical terms 30 – 35% of starting salary and usually a retainer involved   Used very strategically and NOT as the first tool in the tool kit Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  17. 17. Ready Aim Hire Typical Approach: Website (maybe?) Job Descriptio n POST Job Boards Paper Engage Recruiters Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  18. 18. Ready Aim Hire Typical Result: Job Onslaught Descriptio n of responses Engage Recruiters Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  19. 19. Ready Aim Hire Signs of ineffective Recruitment:   Looking at resumes sporadically – as they come in OR as you can get to them   Interviewing candidates weeks apart   In a continual state of wanting to see who else might be out there   Changing requirements while recruiting   Interviewing on the fly   Preparation for an interview is re-reading the resume Reality of start-up environment   There are many pressures and fires to be put out – recruitment will not remain the highest priority throughout the recruitment process   Resources are thin – so support to manage the process is often not there   Conditions constantly changing Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  20. 20. Ready Aim Hire Keys to Effective Recruitment in a Start-Up: 1.  Process 2.  Description 3.  Choice Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  21. 21. Ready Aim Hire Process   Tight recruitment process will save time and improve results   Create a project plan for each recruitment effort   Have all resources work to this plan and key decision points Stage 1 – create a recruitment funnel   Job postings – on targeted sites   Recruiters – internal and external as appropriate   Strategic search – source from networks Stage 2 – develop long list   High quality match resumes only   Do not screen ad hoc – review large sets of resumes at once   Do not allow recruiters to feed resumes in a trickle Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  22. 22. Ready Aim Hire Stage 3 – identify short list:   Best matches   Aim for 6 – 8 - do not start interviewing until you have this Stage 4 – 1st round interviews:   Make interviews structured and consistent   Interview with others – efficient; easier to assess candidate (can have several interviewer groups)   Prepare questions – connect to job description Stage 5 – 2nd round interviews/testing:   Introduce a ‘testing’ component – e.g. do a presentation for you   Aim for 3 top candidates Stage 6 – references and offer:   Get permission for references (think about who should conduct references) Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  23. 23. Ready Aim Hire Sample Recruitment Plan: Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  24. 24. Ready Aim Hire Description   Becomes an essential filter for automated and manual search mechanisms   A guidepost to keep selection on track Job Descriptio n A vanilla job description will produce vanilla results. Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  25. 25. Ready Aim Hire Features of Excellent Job Postings for Start-Ups   Clearly articulates ‘table steaks’ skills   Paints a real picture of the ideal candidate   Sells the opportunity through role, technology, industry, etc.   Has a deadline to match recruitment plan Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  26. 26. Ready Aim Hire Reaching Out – advertising your GREAT opportunity   Job Boards – 2 types   Those that cost a lot and reach millions of candidates   Those that cost little and reach targeted audiences   User groups   Business/professional networks   Professional associations   Alumni associations   Etc.   Print ads – don’t!!! Useless for start ups for $$$   Web site – may or may not be an option (stealth vs. launched)   Word of mouth – ALWAYS – use advisors, board, investors, colleagues   Social Networking Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  27. 27. Ready Aim Hire Social Networking has completely changed the game…..   Previously company phone lists were a protected asset   Now – access to everyone   Problem is the clutter has multiplied   One network can access millions   Everyone is a ‘friend’ and can recommend a candidate – with no way of validating the quality of the reference SO how do you find and reach your stars? Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  28. 28. Ready Aim Hire Best Professional Networking Tool Pro’s   Access to millions of professionals in all industries, professions and geographies   Career focused   Provides access to contacts useful beyond recruitment Con’s   Access to millions of professionals in all industries, professions and geographies   Unreliable filtering of quality candidates   Adoption just picking up in Canada – network is still light Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  29. 29. Ready Aim Hire Tips on effectively using Linked In   Post opportunities – about $150/posting   Take every opportunity to build network in all geographies and industries   Use search capabilities   Reach out to candidates – customized and personal   Leverage common contacts, or marquee roles/industries/ technology   When searching – look at what other funnels you can fill   Update company’s profile – update key events Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  30. 30. Ready Aim Hire Choice   Biggest failure in recruiting is to have one to choose from   THIS IS NOT A CHOICE!!   Never stop at the front end of the process (filling the funnel) until a candidate is hired   Do not be left in a default position AIM TO HAVE A CHOICE OF 3 Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  31. 31. Ready Aim Hire Choosing is the biggest challenge of all!!   Who YOU like the best may not be best for the company   Interview – a balance of asking and selling – hard to know what you are seeing   Comparing candidates over a protracted process is difficult to do   Interviews easily drift off course   Interviewing is mentally exhausting   A tendency to like or dislike; be cynical or wanting to make candidates feel comfortable can take away from the evaluation process   A highly faulty process!!! Be aware of this and plan accordingly. Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  32. 32. Ready Aim Hire Mitigating the Risks:   Prepare questions based on the job description – ask questions that tell you something   2nd round of interviews can be very telling 1st Interview: 2nd Interview: Company – asking Company – selling Candidate - selling Candidate - asking   Interview several candidates over a couple of days – keep it very tight   Know your biases and plan around this   Interview with someone else – so you can mentally rest and evaluate during interview   Big believer in ‘testing’ – or putting candidate in-situ as much as possible   Finally – put your concerns on the table….in fact force yourself to find some to put on the table Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  33. 33. Ready Aim Hire Making an offer:   WAIT – check references first!! ALWAYS   Do your homework   Understand where they are at/expectations   What can you pay   What is the ‘bundle’ you offer (salary, benefits, options, role, opportunity, sector, technology) – this is the offer – not just $$$   Provide verbal and written offers (make sure you have a solid employment contract) with a deadline to accept – so you can go back to other candidates   Once offer is accepted – keep connected to the candidate until they are in the door and in seat Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  34. 34. Best Recruiting Tips for Start-Ups 1.  Know the pillars you must build upon. 2.  $$$ spent ≠ saved time or quality results. 3.  Use full scope of recruitment tools. 4.  No not hand off recruitment 5.  Most effective recruitment:   Tight Process   Clear Description   Have Choices Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  35. 35. Best Recruiting Tips for Start-Ups 6.  Descriptions are your best filter and guidepost to keep recruitment on track 7.  Never make a default choice – aim for 3 solid candidates to choose from. 8.  Know the biases risking the process – mitigate these. Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa
  36. 36. Questions Thank You! Margo Crawfordbusiness sherpa